While China was extremely busy reinventing its cinematic identity, figuring out what type of genre and blockbuster films there were going to produce, a handful of directors struggled to leave the classic Chinese arthouse scene behind. With international backing, directors like Yang Li were able to survive.
Blind Shaft is a film that neatly fits this niche. The focus lies on rural China, the plight of its people and their struggles with the industrialization of their land. In this case, a mining outfit that can hardly keep its head above water and treats its workers like animals. If you're in the mood for a hefty dose of social critique, better strap in.
The film looks pretty bland (which comes with the territory), performances are mediocre and the pacing is slow. There are some crime elements that try to liven things up, but they're only mildly successful. If you like the films of Zhangke Jia this comes recommended, personally I grew tired of this type of cinema years ago.